Out of the three mining towns where all of Colorado’s gambling is concentrated (except, that is, for the large indian casinos in Ignacio and Towaoc) certainly Black Hawk is the flashiest and has the largest number of gambling establishments.
Most of the smaller casinos (the ones that we toured in our previous article) are housed by original buildings and they strive for authenticity, however, there are casinos in town, that fail to guide themselves by the same principles. Obviously, The Lodge, Mardi Gras, Mountain High and the Isle of Capri, not to mention the Riviera, are out to turn Black Hawk into Colorado’s version of Las Vegas.
The Isle of Capri is arguably the largest casino in Black Hawk. Because of the scale of the operation they’re running, The Isle of Capri will cater for the needs of a much more diverse gambling public than any of smaller casinos presented in our last article.
Often advertised as the largest and best casino in Colorado, The Isle provides their customers with free indoor valet parking. The luxurious inside, complete with water falls and palm trees won’t disappoint either, and if you’re looking for a genuine tropical-Caribbean experience in a Colorado mining town, it might just be the very thing for you.
Lodging and dining at the Isle of Capri won’t be a problem. There’s a 238 room hotel attached to the casino, and the only problem you might have when you get hungry is deciding which of the restaurants you should go to. Tradewind’s, Farradday’s, Kitt’s and Calypso’s buffet will all transport you to a world of Caribbean gaiety and warm sunshine.
As it’s usually the case with Las Vegas casinos, the Isle of Capri expands continuously. They’ve recently completed a second indoor parking with yet another hotel built on top of it. The Casino itself connects to the new hotel and to its sister-casino, the Colorado Central Station, through pedestrian walkways.
What about the gambling? Has the Isle focused on that as much as it has on its infrastructure? You bet.
They have about 1390 slot machines (with maximum stakes at $5, according to state law) and in-house progressives.
The interesting thing to a card player like myself though, is that they have something, none of the smaller casinos could boast: live poker and blackjack. There are no less than 10 live blackjack tables, and if poker is your thing, there are 8 tables you can play some good old fashioned man-to-man Holdem at.
If you find the game is too tight for you at these tables, feel free to cross the pedestrian bridge connecting The Isle to the Colorado Central Station. There are 10 more poker tables waiting for you there, plus a bunch of other attractions. Mind you, the Colorado Central Station used to be the biggest casino in Black Hawk, before the Isle of Capri came to town.
Besides the poker room, the Colorado Central Station also has live blackjack (6 tables ) and the usual mix of slot machines and video poker on offer. This casino has a more authentic feel about it, and if you like to play live card-games and you get enough of the Las Vegas thing happening next door, it’ll be the place to go.
The poker room features Texas Holdem, Omaha, Pineapple, and Seven Card Stud. There are daily tournaments and all games can be played with a Hi-Lo split.
I don’t know about you, but the poker room at the Colorado Central Station sounds like the destination for me.
The Riviera Casino (now where have I seen another casino called that?) is another one of Black Hawk’s bigger casinos set on introducing Las Vegas standards to the town.
Here you’ll find the usual video poker and slot machines (state-wide progressives available) and the dining is excellent.
There are no live poker tables, though. The 10 blackjack tables will make sure, lovers of this game stay, and the excellent buffet they have, will satisfy those, for whom gastronomy-matters are a top priority.
The Riviera is situated in one of the busiest hotspots of Black Hawk, so if crowds are you’re thing, you’ll be sure to find them here.
On our quest for live poker in Black Hawk, the Mardi Gras Casino is the next stop.
The Mardi Gras has 2 poker tables, 7 Blackjack tables and the usual selection of video poker and slot machines.
Located at the second intersection in town, this casino also gets its fair share of crowds. It is linked to the Golden Gated Casino via a pedestrian bridge.
Hungry gamblers will have to choose between Winner’s Grille, the Café Orleans and the Snack Bar. They also offer authentic Creole food.
In our next article, we’ll take a closer look at The Lodge and the Mountain High casinos, ( these are, by the way, right next to the Mardi Grass) continuing our tour of Black Hawk with some of the smaller gambling destinations.